Canvas Tool Kit



my grandfather

rode up on his motorcycle

and tossed me a wrapped canvas toolkit

in my dream. Greasy wrenches

screwdrivers so old  the walnut handles

looked like rocks.


He knew I was in trouble

had been a long time

all my old friends

had turned against  me

for reasons of their own

and I had never

felt so alone


In this dream his motorcycle

was the one from the picture

of him in the first war

puttees and riding pants,

the machine more like

a motorized bicycle except

for rails to strap things on,

blankets and guns.


My grandfather died when I was eight

half his brain removed from cancer

one dead eye looking out opposite his caved-in skull

half his thick white hair shaved away

the last time I saw him


In my dream he was young again

winking at me from his motorcycle 

he flicked his wrist too fast to see.

The canvas toolkit flew toward me from the blur of his hand.


I woke up before I could unwrap it,

 tried to remember

what he’d said

tried to remember the tools,

how he had arranged them,

what they were for


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